Friends really are good for you!

We all know that eating well and taking more exercise are sure-fire ways to improve our health, but now experts have confirmed that kicking back with close friends and family is even better.

In fact, psychologists now reckon that belonging to a wide social circle or maintaining a happy family life could increase your survival rates by as much as 50%!

While recent studies have suggested that loneliness could do as much harm to our well-being as heavy drinking or smoking 15 cigarettes a day, it seems spending time with our loved ones can battle isolation, combat stress and steer us away from risky lifestyle choices.

Says psychologist Julianne Holt-Lunstad, "We take relationships for granted as humans. That constant interaction is not only beneficial psychologically but directly to our physical health."

And it's not just friends or family that count - even good relations with your neighbours can boost your health. So next time you bump into next door putting out their bins, be sure to smile...

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